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Super Street Fighter 4 is a game of the moment. When it has your attention there is nothing else in the room, but after playing very little stayed with me to ponder. My post-game strategising had been spent on the previous game.
It only took a glance at the achievements to realize that Super Street Fighter 4 is a far more focused product than the one which inspired it. This is a game that understands its audience - those people who are looking to take the fight online and dedicate considerable amounts of time to the cause. It wasn't too long before I realized that I'm not one of those people.
While I love a good fight, I need something that I can ponder between plays. A game that gets into my psyche. Second time round for Street Fighter 4 and I felt like I had got all I could from the first outing.
But despite this, while you are at the pad Super Street Fighter 4 is still as compelling as its ancestors. Of course, my investment (though not significant) into previous iterations allowed me to enjoy the experience more, not less - I wasn't pining for 'what was'. If anything, it allowed me to appreciate the series' gradual evolution.
However, this iterative approach made me regret buying its predecessor. After exploring the game's new features and bonus content, it's obvious that this is simply a tuned up version of the first game. To the passing player, it is virtually the same. Granted, there are refinements, but for those unwilling to invest hours in discovering these differences first-hand, it is broadly identical.
While you are at the pad Super Street Fighter 4 is still as compelling as its ancestors.
It's the peripheral changes - like online - that caught my attention. Once embryonic, this has now matured into something substantial. It's now a mode worth taking a look at even for those new to the game.
I was also pleased to see that from the get go, every character was unlocked. If like me, time isn't the most abundant resource then this is a significant change. My ability to beat the final boss - Seth - was no longer a barrier, the price of admission was. And at a discounted price, this is great value.
This re-focusing of the original content is best reflected in the 'Fight Request' option. This allowed me to fight through arcade mode, and let others players looking for a fight challenge me at will. In fact, it could be best described as the online equivalent to the jump-in Player 2 Press Start option ubiquitous to the genre.
This is something I'll reach for with friends, rather than a game to loose myself in.
Super Street Fighter 4 felt just as much a throwback to the Super Nintendo era, just as much it felt like a step forward for Capcom's seminal fighting franchise. Don't get me wrong, I enjoyed my time revisiting the game but it didn't grab me like other games do. For me this is something I'll reach for with friends, rather than a game to loose myself in.
With so many different perspectives it can be hard to know where to start - a little like walking into a crowded pub. Sorry about that.
But so far we've not found a way to streamline our review output - there's basically too much of it. So, rather than dilute things for newcomers we have decided to live with the hubbub while helping new readers find the columnists they will enjoy.
Our columnists each focus on a particular perspective and fall into one of the following types of gamers: